The Only Guide You’ll Need for March Madness

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I feel like I may have said this a couple times before, but this really is my favorite time of the year. The four day stretch from Thursday at 12:15 pm to Sunday at like midnight has to be the primary reason why this planet was created. To become one with the couch, to lose track of where you end and the pizza begins, to watch so much basketball it actually deep-fries your brain (Quick Optimum update: I still don’t have CBS. And people wonder why the Knicks fail). It’s what humans were put on Earth to do, and it’s my natural element. I thrive on March Madness. I’m energized by it. The endless loop of the same five commercials becomes my lifeblood. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that I’m my true self during the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament.

Now, March Madness presents a number of new social obligations, as well. Regardless if you’re at school, in the office, or just with your family, it’s required that you discuss the tournament ad nauseam. Mostly, that means listening to everyone you know’s bracket picks. Hey, did you know a 12 seed always beats a 5 seed? No, Scott from Accounts Payable, I didn’t. Thanks for enlightening me! An important part of these discussions is establishing dominance. That can happen one of two ways. The first is by spewing out as many tired facts and arguments (how many brackets are you allowed to have? etc.) as possible and wearing down the casual fans around you. The second is by spitting out cold, hard facts that silence the poseurs and show the world who the real expert is. Any reader of mine surely fits in to the second category, but perhaps you need a little help getting to true savant status. You can go anywhere and find all the numbers and in-depth analysis you want, but I’m going to save you a little time. Here’s every single tournament team in one sentence. You can thank me after you win your bracket pool. I only ask for 10% of the winnings (Venom me @Brian-Curran-4)

East Region

  1. Villanova– Quietest defending champ in a long time, but I’m done picking against them.
  2. Duke– Don’t worry, they’ll lose second or third round.
  3. Baylor– This team sucks and it makes me mad they were so highly ranked all year.
  4. Florida– If Lee Humphrey finds a way to suit up, they’ll go all the way.
  5. Virginia– Most unwatchable team in America.
  6. SMU– They pretty much have five of the exact same guy on the court at all times.
  7. South Carolina– Sindarius Thornwell is the most over-the-top fancy name ever.
  8. Wisconsin– They’re seeded too low, but that’s because they aren’t that good.
  9. Virginia Tech– Randomly beat Duke by double digits.
  10. Marquette– Great shooting but horrible D.
  11. Providence/USC– Pepperidge Farm remembers a better time when there was only one play-in game.
  12. UNC Wilmington– This one group of Seahawks that isn’t addicted to adderall.
  13. East Tennessee State– Why is a team from a land-locked state called the Buccaneers?
  14. New Mexico State– Do they still have Sim Bhullar?
  15. Troy– Went to high school with a kid named Troy and I wasn’t a fan.
  16. Mt. St. Mary’s/New Orleans– Calling it now- New Orleans wins the championship.

Midwest Region (It bothers me to no end that it’s the Midwest Region not the North Region)

  1. Kansas– You’ll never believe this, but Kansas was really good this year.
  2. Louisville– Their ideal offense scores in 15 seconds or less.
  3. Oregon– No team with wacky jerseys has ever really won anything.
  4. Purdue– Just as likely to lose first round as to make the Final Four
  5. Iowa State– Half their players seem like they’ve been in school for 20 years.
  6. Creighton– Won’t really do much of anything without their star point guard.
  7. Michigan– I wish yellow text was easier to read.
  8. Miami– I don’t know why but I was so glad when that good Miami team from a few years ago lost early.
  9. Michigan State– You know what they say, never count out Tom Izzo in March (except when they lose first round).
  10. Oklahoma State– One of my favorite teams to watch.
  11. Rhode Island– If they can get Lamar Odom courtside they may win some games.
  12. Nevada– They’re really ahead of Vermont?
  13. Vermont– If you think maple syrup from anywhere but Vermont is acceptable we need to fight.
  14. Iona– I always randomly like Iona.
  15. Jacksonville State– I’m pretty sure this is in Alabama not Florida and it messes me up big time.
  16. North Carolina Central/UC Davis– It’s not good when I have to Google what your team colors are.

South Region

  1. North Carolina– This team’s ceiling is higher than any one else’s roof.
  2. Kentucky– Weird that they aren’t under-seeded to give them a favorable matchup this year.
  3. UCLA– Honestly wouldn’t mind if they lost first round and sent Lavar Ball into shock.
  4. Butler– Are they still considered a scrappy underdog even though this is their millionth straight tournament.
  5. Minnesota– I’ve made my feelings on this team clear.
  6. Cincinnati– It’s only a matter of time before Mick Kronin’s head literally explodes on the sideline.
  7. Dayton– Feel like they’re perpetually a thorn in bigger team’s sides.
  8. Arkansas– Didn’t hear about them once all year, but all of a sudden they’re a huge lock to make the tournament?
  9. Seton Hall– I’m always on board with Pirate mascots.
  10. Wichita State– This team is really good how are they a 10 seed?
  11. Wake Forest/Kansas State– How long until everything is just a play-in game?
  12. Middle Tennessee State– Honestly nervous for my Gophers in this matchup.
  13. Winthrop– One of those new-fangled 3-point obsessed teams that’s sure to get some hot takes from the older generation.
  14. Kent State– Please beat UCLA, please beat UCLA, please beat UCLA.
  15. Northern Kentucky– Willing to bet at least 70% of the Northern Kentucky alumni are still rooting for Kentucky in this game.
  16. Texas Southern– I know it’ll be tough in the moment, but it’s important to remember that it’s not your fault you were offered up as a sacrifice to UNC.

West Region

  1. Gonzaga– Kinda-sorta-almost lost to the 16 seed the last time they were a 1 seed, just saying.
  2. Arizona– Listen, one of these teams has to make the Final Four at some point.
  3. Florida State– Pretty much just Baylor if they were in Florida.
  4. West Virginia– I was all in on them until they blew a 50-point lead in five minutes to Kansas, now I’m way, way out.
  5. Notre Dame– Somehow a Notre Dame sports team has gone under the radar.
  6. Maryland– Overhyped and overrated.
  7. Saint Mary’s– The whole team better be rocking the Delly Ones.
  8. Northwestern– Northwestern grads are a lot like vegans.
  9. Vanderbilt– If they were playing in their wacky home gym I’d feel good about them.
  10. VCU– They’re still good, huh?
  11. Xavier– Got a friend named Xavier.
  12. Princeton– Man, gotta feel good for this rag-tag group of underdogs from that destitute Ivy League Conference.
  13. Bucknell– Always grateful for Bucknell for being UConn’s first round opponent in 2011.
  14. Florida Gulf Coast– Is Dunk City back for another run?
  15. North Dakota– Not enough green in this bracket.
  16. South Dakota State– Rigged seeding built for an all Dakota Elite Eight.
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